Sorry I haven’t blogged since Saturday. I began Friday night believing I could finish Moby Dick in two days, which I found to be an impossible task. Impossible not because the book boasts over six hundred pages (my edition does anyway) but more because whale-talk puts me to sleep faster than folks who try to apply Marxist readings to any and all subjects. I am happy to announce that I’m less than 150 pages away from the death of Ahab. My response to the “novel”?
They needed a bigger boat.
As I was looking through news stories this morning in an attempt to avoid Ishmael’s narrative, and I came across this Newsweek story wherein Anne Rice proclaims that from now on she will only write “for the Lord.” Her next book Christ the Lord opens with a seven year old Jesus, and will be the first book in her “Christ Trilogy” (okay I made that last thing up). Rice hopes to humanize Jesus and to do this she daringly writes in a first-person narrative.
The Newsweek article makes a big deal out of this whole thing, but anyone who’s read Memnoch the Devil shouldn’t be surprised very much. While not exactly adhering to Catholic doctrine, which Rice now promises to do, Rice’s Memnoch uses many early canonical and non-canonical Judeo-Christian myths as source material. In the novel she quite skillfully offers an explanation concerning how Sheol eventually morphs into Hell. Unfortunately for me, that book was the last of hers that I found at all interesting, but I’m so damn hard-headed I’ve read everything of hers since then. Maybe this new series will be good. It’s certainly not an original idea, but hopefully it will at least be readable”¦unlike Blackwood Farm. Bleh.
While I’m still leery about Rice’s book, I have the utmost confidence in recommending to you Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. Unlike Rice, Moore’s first person narrative comes not from Christ but from his best friend Biff. The book is as well-researched as it is funny. Here, read the opening paragraphs for yourself:
“You think you know how this story is going to end, but you don’t. Trust me, I was there. I know.
The first time I saw the man who would save the world he was sitting near the central well in Nazareth with a lizard hanging out of his mouth. Just the tail end and the hind legs were visible on the outside; the head and forelegs were halfway down the hatch. He was six, like me, and his beard had not come in fully, so he didn’t look much like the pictures you’ve seen of him. His eyes were like dark honey, and they smiled at me out of a mop of blue-black curls that framed his face. There was a light older than Moses in those eyes.
“Unclean! Unclean!” I screamed, pointing at the boy, so my mother would see that I knew the law, but she ignored me, as did all the other mothers who were filling their jars at the well.
“The boy took the lizard from his mouth and handed it to his younger brother, who sat beside him in the sand. The younger boy played with the lizard for a while, teasing it until it reared its little head as if to bite, then he picked up a rock and mashed the creatures head. Bewildered, he pushed the dead lizard around in the sand, and once assured that it wasn’t going anywhere on its own, he picked it up and handed it back to his older brother.
Into his mouth went the lizard, and before I could accuse, out it came again, squirming and alive and ready to bite once again. He handed it back to his younger brother, who smote it mightily with the rock, starting or ending the whole process again.
I watched the lizard die three more times before I said, “I want to do that too.”
The Savior removed the lizard from his mouth and said, “Which part?””
Like Anne Rice, Moore attempts to fill in the gaps of Jesus’ life the traditional gospels omit. But I’m willing to bet that Rice’s novel doesn’t contain any martial arts battles or explain why people associate rabbits with Easter. And I’ll also bet that when Rice gets around to writing about the resurrection of Simon Lazarus he’ll walk right out of the cave and praise Jesus. Not in Moore’s book. Jesus (who Moore insists on calling Joshua) demands that Simon Lazarus walk out of the cave, and this is what happens:
“But I’m”¦I’m all icky.”
“My skin is all green, like an unripe olive.”
Finally Joshua lowered his arms and stormed into the tomb. “I can’t believe that you bring a guy back from the dead and he doesn’t even have the courtesy to come out ”“ WHOA! HOLY MOLY!” Joshua came backing out of the tomb, stiff-legged. Very calmly and quietly, he said, “We need clean clothes, and some water to wash with, and bandages, lot of bandages. I can heal him, but we have to sort of get all of his parts stuck back together first.”
Go buy Moore’s book immediately. You can thank me later.